Students in Lincoln will be presented with awards today to recognise their completion of an RAF programme set up in memory of a Red Arrows pilot from Warwickshire who died during a display three years ago.
The Blue Skies Programme charity was set up in memory of Flt. Lt. Jon Egging from Ufton, who lost his life in August 2011 at the Bournemouth Air Festival.
The charity aims to realise his dream of helping young people overcome adversity, identify their strengths and work towards their ambitions.
Twenty five students aged 13 to 15 from the Priory Witham Academy have been mentored through the nine session programme by trained personnel from RAF Coningsby, RAF Cranwell, RAF Scampton, RAF Wittering, RAF Waddington and MoD North Luffenham.
A video posted online showing what it's like to fly with the red arrows has been viewed almost 30,000 times in three days.
The film shows the inside of the cockpit as the team fly over the Lincolnshire countryside for a practice session including dips, dives and manoeuvres. The Red Arrows, which are in their 50th year, fly out to Cyprus tomorrow for a training session ahead of a new display season.
You can see the full video here.
The Red Arrows have unveiled a new tail-fin design for their famous planes, to mark 50 years of air displays across the country.
The Union flag design which will appear on all of the planes, was revealed at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire today. The team is hoping to have all of the Hawk planes displaying the design in time for a training trip to Cyprus at the end of March.
The RAF Red Arrows have revealed the new paint scheme for the tails of their jets. It forms part of the display team's 50th anniversary.
The Red Arrows will unveil a new look for their famous jets later today, as the team marks its 50th display season this year.
The livery is being unveiled at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire.
In a statement, the father of Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham says his son died doing what he loved, adding that the family are struggling to accept how many opportunities were missed which could have prevented his death.
Flight Lieutenant Cunningham's father Jim Cunningham said:
“Our son Sean died aged 35 doing what he loved which was flying with the Red Arrows. From the age of 17, he had wanted nothing more than to join the Royal Air Force and serve his country, which he did with utmost pride and sense of duty.
“He served a number of tours in Iraq flying Tornados in close air support of coalition forces. Sean’s death was a tragedy which we hope the evidence revealed in this Inquest, will help to avoid in the future.
“We still find it difficult to accept that so many people could have missed, between Sean’s last sortie on Friday and the following Tuesday, what should have been obvious to those having a duty to ensure the safety of the seat, and we remain unconvinced as to that aspect of the Coroner’s finding.
“Nevertheless, we accept that how the seat firing handle came to be in a position where it could be inadvertently activated may never be fully understood.
"We welcome the conclusions of the Coroner which confirm what we knew all along, which is that Sean was blameless and his tragic death was preventable.
"We therefore welcome the Coroner’s recommendations, which we hope and pray will ensure that no family such as ours, has to endure such a pointless and avoidable death."
The manufacturer of the ejector seat says it has learned lessons after the death of a Red Arrows pilot who died after being accidentally ejected from his Hawk T1.
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham was killed at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire in November 2011. He did not separate from the ejector seat and his parachute did not deploy because a shackle had jammed.
Martin-Baker says it has 'taken steps to alert all [of its] customers worldwide who use this type of seat of the risk of over tightening the shackle'.
We would like to extend our sincere condolences to Flight Lieutenant Cunningham's family and friends. Martin-Baker is a family owned company producing vital equipment for people doing a dangerous and important job. We take our responsibilities to these individuals very seriously and we are all deeply saddened by this terrible accident.
The ejection seat is qualified to save a life on a ground level ejection. On this occasion, uniquely in the entire history of Martin-Baker ejection seats using this particular feature, it failed due to a shackle bolt being too tight. This prevented the main parachute from deploying.
Lessons have been learned and we have taken steps to alert all our customers worldwide who still use this type of seat, of the risk of over tightening the shackle.
Furthermore, our designers, working closely with military experts have developed a new type of shackle bolt and firing handle housing, which both Martin-Baker and the military authorities consider will prevent the reoccurrence of the circumstances that led to this tragic accident.
Martin-Baker is proud to be able to say that, since 1946, it has led the world in the design development and manufacture of ejection seats. As of today's date, these seats have saved 7436 lives, seven in this month alone.
A coroner has criticised the manufacturer of an ejector seat, which led to the death of Red Arrows pilot Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham.Read the full story ›
The inquest into the death of a Red Arrows pilot is due to end today.
Flight Lieutenant Sean Cunningham from Coventry died at RAF Scampton in November 2011 when he was ejected from his aircraft while it was still on the ground.